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Update Nov. 2022: This is an old post from the pandemic. Odyssey Teen Camp is no longer offering the virtual camp because the real camp is now back in session. Please check out our camp activities page and definitely see the old video of Georgios & Chloe at the bottom of this post. It’s fun and will give you a glimpse into the creative minds involved in programming activities at OTC.
Call it whatever you want; our virtual camp is helping teens through these times.
Like many other businesses, this pandemic has been tough on summer camp people. Most of us spent the first two months of the pandemic worrying whether we would be allowed to open, and this last month many of us realized that it does not make much sense to try and do so.
We were trying to create ways to keep COVID-19 out of camp but also knew that our rational thinking can only take us so far when looking for answers to questions that no one currently has the answers to.
Camps that canceled have been angry at camps planning to open, and camps planning to open can find plenty of reasons to be angry. COVID-19 often has us feeling scared, helpless, and confused. I think many of us are more comfortable expressing those feelings as anger than what they really are, fear of living in this world that we can no longer make sense of.
The highway signs near my house say, “Stay New York Tough.” I get the idea, but I don’t feel all that tough lately. Confused, stuck, frustrated, scared, but “tough”? Not so much…
A few weeks ago, we started an online camp program. I’ve heard some people put virtual camp down, saying, “It’s not camp!” Well, you can call it what you want; what I’ve seen in the few weeks it’s been running is that it can be pretty great.
Teens are connecting, having fun, and feeling less isolated and alone. We are trying new things, making new friends, and sharing our gifts. We have over thirty-five teenagers registered, and I hope we will get a lot more.
Great people are leading unique activities, and great teenagers are showing up. Everyone is included, respected, seen, and heard. We are having fun but also tackling some tough questions about the world we are living in. We are trying to help teens discover more wisdom, truth, and love for themselves and this new world we are all living in.
This is no joke…
Creating this program is a lot of work, but I think it’s worth it. I hope we will be able to use it to spend the next several months connecting, learning new skills, and discovering more about each other, our world, and the ways we can make it better. OTC has always had some of the most unique summer programming and attracted teens outside the “norm.” Besides computers, our online program is no different.
Virtual camp is still pretty new to us, and while it may not be camp the way we know it, I am really glad we are doing it. I recently ran an online sharing circle with my friend Francesca, and I’ve been leading sharing circles with teens and adults for a long time and I think this circle felt as helpful and valuable as any other circle I’ve been a part of.
Our online camp is a safe, fun, and interesting way to connect, support, encourage, and love one another. To me, that makes more sense than trying to hang “New York Tough”.
Regretfully, we had to cancel the real camp for 2020 due to the pandemic, but we now have an online program where teens can jump in anytime. It may be the perfect way for teens to test the waters and meet the OTC community in a relaxed way. See the video below. Find out more.
Thanks for stopping by the Odyssey Teen Camp blog. Do you like what you see?
A Non-Profit Overnight Summer Camp For Teens Ages 13-18Located in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts.